UK-Japan nuclear clean-up cooperation formalised

By Lindsay Gale01 May 2014

Sellafield Ltd managing director Tony Price with the president of TEPCO FDEC, Naohiro Masuda

Sellafield Ltd managing director Tony Price with the president of TEPCO FDEC, Naohiro Masuda

Sellafield Ltd, responsible for the decommissioning of Europe’s most complex nuclear facility at Sellafield in Cumbria, UK, has signed a formal agreement of cooperation with Japanese company TEPCO FEDC, who in turn is responsible for the decontamination of the Fukushima nuclear power station that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami.

The agreement will see the transfer of knowledge and experience between the two, giving TEPCO access to the skills available from SMEs engaged in the Sellafield Ltd supply chain and in turn providing access for the UK to advancements made at Fukushima over the coming years,

Sellafield Ltd managing director Tony Price said: “We have much that we can help the Japanese with initially, as they move their focus from power generation and to cleaning up and decommissioning. But the technical expertise of the Japanese is renowned the world over, they are experts in design and manufacturing and, judging by their past performance on everything from motorcycles to nuclear reprocessing – once they start decommissioning in earnest there will be much that they can teach us.”

“What this co-operation statement will do is formalise a working relationship, which has existed for 60 years, between the UK nuclear industry and the Japanese, and it opens up channels for us to work more closely together now and in the future. There are many similar challenges that we’ll be facing on our sites over the coming years and we can share our experiences, access to our supply chains and any advancements that come in the future. This will make sure we are both better equipped to deliver our respective missions.”

Naohiro Masuda, the President of TEPCO’s new Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Company, (FDEC), said: “It has been a great honour for me to visit Sellafield and to sign this agreement between our companies.

“We are now three years into the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi, and while we have made good progress our biggest challenge has been in shifting the mindset from power generation to decommissioning – working with Sellafield Ltd, who are several years ahead of us in terms of decommissioning, will help us to move forward more quickly."

The agreement is to be signed at a ceremony at Imperial College attended by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in London on a state visit.

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